Marion County launches partnership school
Rosa Paz, wellness coordinator for the program, looks over the food pantry that is part of the services offered at College Park Elementary. [Submitted]
The United Way of Marion County launched the county’s first community partnership school College Park Elementary this week.
“We’re hoping that College Park is going to be that neighborhood center that is the heart of the community,” Principal Teresa Forsyth said. “And bringing together all these different sectors of the family, the educators, business leaders and local government and all working to give kids the access that they need to education by improving the family, the whole family.”
The “community partnership school model” involves a relationship between groups like a school district, a university or college, a community-based non-profit, a healthcare provider and others. The model is supposed to assist schools in meeting the needs of the community through their partners. Forsyth mentioned that they were helping with mentoring, health care, language classes, career training and more.
“The community partnership model focuses on providing a multitude of services to students and families served by College Park Elementary,” Scot Quintel, president and CEO of United Way of Marion County, said in a release. “This two-generation poverty alleviation model helps children with their education as well as advancing the skills of the adults so their family can become more financially stable, have better access to healthcare and increase their educational attainment.”
Marion County Public Schools, Public Education Foundation of Marion County, Ocala Health and the College of Central Florida have all partnered with the United Way of Marion County for the community partnership school at College Park Elementary.
“As a huge supporter of community partnership schools, I know what an incredible impact this has on the lives of our children and their families,” Marion County Public Schools Superintendent Diane Gullett said during a virtual ribbon-cutting event on Thursday. “We know that we can’t truly meet the needs academically of our students unless we are committed to meeting the needs of all of the aspects of their life.”